Walk on the Beach

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Water has such a cleansing quality. If only it could have the same lasting effect of a Jackson Pollack's seemingly dismissive splash of white acrylic on top of a previously unencumbered canvas. Instead, its prowess is diminished by each resurfacing wave and by the scraps of the ocean's debris that it leaves behind. I stood along on the sandy, forlorn beach, as a rain squall was wiped out to sea by a cold, unfriendly nor'eastner. Perhaps reminiscent of my days as a second string soccer player---never could withstand the impact of the zebra stripped ball as it pummeled off my head, making me a ideal candidate for long spells of bench warming, while others got the fans and the hot cheer leader in bed after the game---I kicked a nearly empty beer bottle whose Budweiser label had been mostly shredded from the contender's glass surface by the relentless wash of a churning ocean. As the bottle flip-floped across the beach towards the sea, I looked outward at the vast open, black water--- boundless and haunting in its liquid universe. Residual beer mixed with salt water spilled from the roiling missile as it skirted the sand before landing on the peaking crest of a retreating wave. Once saddled, it piggybacked into deeper waters. The hedonistic Summer crowds had vanished for the most part from this New Jersey's play ground, except for my solitary figure and a few abstract silhouettes in the distance who resembled, from my vantage point, skeletal corpses resurrected from a long forgotten coastal ship wreck. Except for rushing storm clouds overhead and the expiring breath of the nor'eastner, my footsteps were along in the wet sand---my choice and I had no regrets. I am and always have been a solitary person. I can only take so muc... ... middle of paper ... ...ed Marlboro, then I flicked the butt and the remnant of an old habit into the wind; the still ignited weed shredded embers as it floated through the damp ocean air, startling a sea gull that had been picking at the remains of some kind of washed up casualty of the sea. I smelled---I tasted the salty air, breathed it in deeply and exhaled. It was intoxicating! I was glad that these occasional smoking lapses were so fleeting and evolved only when my thoughts were heavy and their weight required a clutch for support. Tonight it was tomorrow's events that ladened the moment. I had kicked the cigarette habit-though, not completely-I was still working on a full abstinence, but it was times like these that made complete abstinence a year to year New Year;s resolution. Still, when asked by anyone whether or not I was a smoker, I would answer with a self righteous “no”.

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